SPNHL, Season 31: Stanley CUp Finals Recap + Award Selections
By: Dirty-Dietrich.

My apologies for the late delivery on the article, I was busy discovering life hacks like replacing meatballs in your spaghetti with sausages. Have you tried this? It’s delicious.

Oh my god, I’m a real life version of Todd Chavez from Bojack Horseman. Pray for me.

Let’s get down to business here. After 7 grueling weeks of hockey, only two teams remained: the Vegas Golden Knights and the New Jersey Devils. The Knights emerged as the best team in the west after disposing of the scrappy Underducks in 5 games and (debatably) upsetting the dynasty of the Colorado Avalanche in 6 games, while the Devils almost didn’t make it to the Finals at all. They gave up a 3-1 series lead over Pittsburgh in the first round but won in 7 games, and then knocked out the Tampa Bay Lightning in 5 games to get a chance to compete for the Stanley Cup.

It was a battle of potent offenses as the Knights top line of Stoner, NJ, and Prodigy faced off against the dynamic duo of Grammyhands and Rich2K8. The defensive core of GodsPlan, Cuban, and Uber opposed the Devils’ defenders of Shirk, CeeG, and Royal. We were also witness to a goalie battle as a former Hart Memorial winner in Sliyum stood across the rink from a pair of former Conn Smythe winners in Rancher and Ciulla. I could talk about the talent on these teams all day (a few hours max TBH), but let’s take a look at how the series went down.

Stanley Cup Finals: Vegas Golden Knights vs. New Jersey Devils.

Game 1: Knights win 2-1.

The first game of the series was a matter of the two teams feeling eachother out defensively, so a lot of this game was contested at centre-ice. However, fresh off defeating the reigning champions, Vegas took a 1-0 lead to start the series.

Game 2: Devils win 3-1.

Another hard fought defensive game, the Devils had a good start to a game that served as a must win for them. They needed to stop the momentum of the Knights, and they (temporarily) did so with a big 3-1 win in game.
Game 3: Knights win 6-0.

This one was rough. They let me play LW for a game and I had no fucking clue what I was doing. The Knights shut down the Devils in game 3 and exploded offensively, culminating in a dominating performance in what many thought was a pivotal game 3.

Game 4: Devils win 4-2.

Like I said, people thought it was pivotal. After the Knights had taken a 2-1 lead in the series, the Devils bounced back from the loss with a four goal performance and set the offensive pace for the rest of the series. The defensive stalemate was over, and the offensive battle had begun.

Game 5: Devils win 4-3.

In a chaotic game 5, it was back and forth for three periods. The Knights had a 3-2 lead going into the final minute of the game, but a big move by Rich resulted in the tying goal and a great pass by Grammy lead to the game winning goal in the dying seconds of regulation.

Game 6: Devils win 4-3.

Akin to last game, there was a bit of a kerfuffle in the third period. As the Devils held a 3-1 lead entering the third period, they nearly suffered a catastrophic collapse after the Knights tied it at 3 and took it to overtime. However, a pass interception from Grammy and another exceptional pass to Rich resulted in a 4-3 overtime victory and the Devils being crowned the Stanley Cup champions of Season 31 of the SPNHL.

SPNHL Season 31 Stanley Cup Champions: New Jersey Devils.

After a very well-played series, all the credit in the world is due for the Vegas Golden Knights. Their offense was superb, their defense was stagnant, and their goaltending was exceptional. A group of great guys with a championship pedigree gave the Devils an incredibly tough challenge, but unfortunately a few bad breaks and some poor puck luck resulted in a losing effort for a masterly Vegas squad.

I also wanted to say congratulations to the New Jersey Devils, and want to share a story from the beginning of the season. Grammy sent me a message before the draft, saying “It’s cup or bust this szn for me”. It took some time for me to figure out the best strategy at the draft and our best line throughout the season. At some points in this season, we thought we were gonna fall apart. However, Grammy, Rich, Serv, Canuckz, Shirk, Royal, CeeG, Ciulla, and Rancher all played exceptional when it counted and came together as a team come playoffs. I am exceptionally proud of everybody and am very grateful for the effort you put in and dedication to the team.

Alright! Let’s move on to the Awards! This last season sparked some interesting debates for awards, and it resulted in the emergence of an awards committee! Sedinpower, Shaynestaa, Sliyumshady, Ciulla, and I spent weeks debating who should win these awards and we’re sure our selections will spark some conversation and backlash.

Good. Fuckem. Here are the winners!

(all awards not listed here were statistically determined at the end of the regular season)

Hart Memorial: Snipeshotty (Anaheim Ducks).
Runner-up: Go-Marc.

Snipeshotty backstopped the aptly named Underducks into the playoffs, and was responsible for the majority of their regular season success. Playing in 40 games, he only won 22 of his starts but had an insane statline. He saved 84.75% of the astounding 754 shots against him, 100 more than the next goaltender in line while also recording 3 shutouts. Go-Marc had a stellar season, scoring 57 goals and notching 58 assists in 37 games played and lead the Avalanche to the President’s Trophy for the second season in a row. In the end, Snipeshooty’s value to his team was immeasurable and resulted in his winning of the Hart Memorial trophy.

Conn Smythe: Rich2K8.
Runner-up: Grammyhands.

Grammy was going to win this trophy after being so close to winning the Calder and Hart trophies in past seasons, until games 5 and 6 of the Finals. Rich came alive and put up back to back hat-trick performances (one at D and one at RW) to secure the victory for the New Jersey Devils. With the highest point-per-game total in the playoffs and a dominant performance in the Finals, Rich2K8 secured the Conn Smythe award for playoff MVP.

Frank J. Selke: Bstieboydp.
Runner-up: Yesse__.

After a strong performance for Colorado in season 30, Bstie found his way to the Pittsburgh Penguins where he was a dominant force as a defensive forward. In 33 games, he scored 40 goals to go along with an astounding 146 hits, 89 takeaways, and a 53.84 success rate on faceoffs as he spearheading a strong Penguins forecheck. Yesse had a great season across the state in Philly, scoring 39 goals to match his 40 assists, while delivering 44 hits, 66 takeaways, and winning 56.64% of faceoffs. The race was extremely close for this award, but Bstie squeaked out the win for the award for best defensive forward.

Bill Masterton: PEACEKEEPER500.
Runner-up: NONE. THE VOTE WAS UNANIMOUS. GET FUCKED.

As Toronto redrafted a team that went to the Stanley Cup Finals last season, a new face on the Leafs was former Philly GM Peacekeeper. Old friends turned to bitter enemies as the Leafs fell apart halfway through the season and with Jayscott being all but absent, Peacekeeper took charge and iced a team every night. He could have easily asked for a trade or ignored his responsibility, but he chose otherwise and showed qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to the SPNHL.

Lady Byng: Iam_mrbean.
Runner-up: aE_MuSe.

In what has recently been called the “TrueLegend” award, we have a new winner of the Lady Byng award for the first time in 7 seasons! Bean bursted into the league with a strong season and had a hand in helping the Underducks make the playoffs. He finished 10th in scoring (lead all rookies) with 38 goals and 42 assists in 33 games, while amassing a minimal 6 penalty minutes. Muse had a great season in Philly with 27 goals and 31 assists in 30 games while keeping his PIMs to 8, but Bean’s discipline and high standard of play scored him the Lady Byng.

Norris Memorial: Sedinpower.
Runner-up: Gods3_3Plan1.

Now, before any controversy is made about the award, Sedin did not vote for himself. The rest of us, however, did. Sedin established himself as the best defender in the SPNHL for the second season in a row after another President’s Trophy campaign where he amassed 30 points in 25 games, while remaining +31 with 102 hits and only 12 pims. GodsPlan scored 31 points in 27 games and was +13 with 39 hits and 20 pims. GodsPlan emerged as an elite defender, and even Execution had another great season, but Sedin once again established the standard for all-around ability at the position.

Vezina Trophy: Snipeshotty.
Runner-up: chadkillz134.

We’ve already talked about the stellar season Snipeshotty had that lead him to win the Hart Memorial, so let’s talk about how Chad the Chode’s stats stack up and nearly won him the Vezina trophy. Chad won 28 of his 44 starts, saved 84.40% of the 654 shots he faced, while retaining a 2.32 GAA and recording 1 shutout. Chad had very impressive numbers and proved himself as a consistently elite goalkeeper, but Snipeshotty was the top goaltender in the SPNHL this season.

Calder Trophy: Snipeshotty.
Runner-up: Iam_mrbean.

It’s a hat trick for Snipeshotty! Winning the Vezina trophy and the Hart Memorial is impressive, but doing it in your first season in the league? That’s practically unheard of. The Underducks drafted a collection of very talented rookies, as their rookie netminder took home 3 awards and their rookie left wing lead all rookies in scoring and scored the Lady Byng trophy for his efforts. You gotta give credit to Koz and Shadow for discovering and developing talent.

And that’s a wrap on season 31! It’s been a long road to get to this point, and I wanted to thank everybody who came along for the ride! Thank you for playing in this league, thank you for reading the articles, thank you for your presence in this community. However, there ain’t no rest for the wicked (until we close our eyes for good) (I’ve been playing a lot of Borderlands recently).

The Draft for Season 32 of the SPNHL is on Tuesday, March 19th and the regular season will be just around the corner, getting underway on March 25th! Also, now that I know how to use this OBS shit, expect regular episodes of SPNHL: Off the Ice! Plisk, myself, and an assortment of guests will be joining us throughout the draft (which we will broadcast live) and for episodes of Off the Ice throughout Season 32, so stay tuned to twitch.tv/thespnhl_media!

Thank you for another great season, let’s look forward to another one!

-DD.

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